Browner brings big boost; Seahawks looking healthy

don.ruiz@thenewstribune.comJanuary 3, 2013 

RENTON — For the first time in a month, Seattle Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner was back at practice Wednesday.

And while he put off talking to the media until today, his coach and teammates said they were pleased to have him back in advance of the Seahawks’ wild-car playoff game Sunday at Washington.

“It feels fantastic,” fellow cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Getting him back is a big boost for us. I think it will be big for our defense. His presence, his physicality will be a huge factor in this game, I’m sure.”

Browner missed the final four games of the regular season and four weeks of practice after being suspended by the league for testing positive for a banned substance. He started the first 12 games of this season before being suspended prior to the Dec. 9 game against Arizona.

Through those first dozen games, Browner had three interceptions, forced three fumbles, deflected six pass and made 44 tackles.

Last season, Browner joined safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

“BB (Browner) is a big part of the team, a big part of the defense,” veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant said. “And now that we get him back, it even makes it better. … He’s a great corner. He’s a great player. Everybody’s excited to get him back.”

The Seahawks went 4-0 in Browner’s absence, with rookie sixth-round draft pick Jeremy Lane and second-year pro Byron Maxwell filling in.

Coach Pete Carroll sounded happy to have Browner available again but has not said who will start opposite Sherman on Sunday.

“Getting Brandon Browner back is a big deal to us,” Carroll said. “He’s been a big part of what we’ve done here, and he’s a significant factor in the style that we play. He comes back, and we’ll see how he does. It’s been a month, so we’ll see how rusty he is.”

SEAHAWKS HEALTHY

Browner’s return wasn’t the only good personnel news Carroll had as the team resumed practice Wednesday. The coach also said his team is in encouragingly good health heading into the playoffs.

“We are very fortunate right now,” Carroll said. “We’ll have most everybody back on the field today.”

Running back Marshawn Lynch was the only player listed on Seattle’s injury report. He was a limited participant because of a back problem.

Receiver Sidney Rice (knee), offensive tackle Breno Giacomini (elbow) and cornerback Marcus Trufant (hamstring) all had lingering issues heading into the St. Louis game last week but practiced fully Wednesday.

Linebacker Leroy Hill also fully participated in practice after missing the regular-season finale against the Rams with a hamstring injury. Carroll wouldn’t say if Hill will start Sunday.

Trufant finished with three tackles and two pass deflections against St. Louis in his first game back after missing four games because of a hamstring injury.

“I felt pretty good,” Trufant said. “Of course, any time you miss, you kind of have to get all the way back to game speed. But I felt good.”

The injury report was not as good for the Redskins. Left guard Kory Lichtensteiger missed practice with a knee injury he suffered against Dallas last Sunday. Linebacker London Fletcher (ankle), cornerback D.J. Johnson (knee) and quarterback Kirk Cousins (knee) also did not practice for Washington.

Safety DeJon Gomes (knee) was a limited participant in practice.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III was a full participant Wednesday, although he will continue to wear a brace to protect his balky right knee.

Griffin suffered a sprained lateral collateral ligament on Dec. 9 against Baltimore, forcing him to miss the following game at Cleveland. Cousins started in his place.

However, Griffin said in a conference call with Seattle-area reporters on Wednesday that he’s healthy.

“I’m 100 percent,” Griffin said. “Every time I step on that field, I’m 100 percent. My teammates know that. They know what I’m out there dealing with, I know what I’m out there dealing with, but when it comes to my mindset I’m 100 percent.”

Staff writer Eric D. Williams contributed to this report. Don Ruiz: 253-597-8808 don.ruiz@thenewstribune.com @donruiztnt

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